Kenny Ratledge leaving Sevier County for Pigeon Forge
Kenny Ratledge is headed to Pigeon Forge.
Ratledge, who has coached at Sevier County since 1985, said he will be special teams coordinator for the Tigers starting next fall. He’ll also teach Drivers’ Ed, as he does now in Sevierville.
“I just felt like it’s time for a change,” Ratledge said. “Pigeon Forge had contacted me earlier. It seemed like a great opportunity. Every time I talked to someone up there they made me feel like I was wanted.”
Pigeon Forge coach Scott Meadows said Ratledge will also coach inside linebackers. He was the defensive coordinator for the Bears, winning a state championship in 1999 and helping Sevier County to five straight Inter Mountain Athletic Conference titles under head coach Steve Brewer. Ratledge has written several books about coaching — including one on special teams — and his Amazon.com profile says he has written 26 articles in national football publications.
“We’re just thrilled to death that he’s part of Pigeon Forge football,” Meadows said. “There’s not too many times that you get to hire a Kenny Ratledge. He’s one of the top coaches around. For him to be coming to our staff is just huge. I can’t put it into words how big it is for us.”
Meadows knew Ratledge from his days coaching against Sevier County when he was at Jefferson County and William Blount. He said he never liked facing a Ratledge defense because scheme-wise the Bears were “amazing.”
Ratledge said it would be an honor to work with Meadows. He said he thinks the Tigers are a team on the rise after Meadows led Pigeon Forge to its first-ever playoff win this past season.
“It’s going to be something new,” Ratledge said. “I’ve coached primarily defense for 33 years. I’m looking forward to doing something different, coordinating special teams. I’m excited about that. It’s new. I’ve coached individual special teams but it’s never been my primary job.”
Whatever role Ratledge would have in Pigeon Forge, Meadows couldn’t hide his excitement.
“He’s got an amazing amount of knowledge,” Meadows said. “Not only does he know Xs and Os but he knows how to get it across to the players. I told him this, I think our football program is headed in the right direction but with somebody like him coming aboard he puts us over the top. I think he brings that much to the football program.”